Brandin Echols claims NFL Rookie of the Week honors
In his second game back from a three-game absence due to a thigh injury, New York Jets rookie cornerback Brandin Echols rightfully earned Rookie of the Week honors with a career day against the Dolphins. He came away with three passes defended, four tackles, and a pick-six.
The Jets’ Twitter account shared the news.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) December 23, 2021
Great day by 3 young Jets defenders. Davis, Hall, and Echols combined for 7 passes defended, 2 interceptions, 1 touchdown, and 16 tackles.
— Long Island Jets Fan (@li_jets) December 21, 2021
Echols’ efforts earned him an elite 93.3 coverage grade at Pro Football Focus, the best grade among all defensive players in Week 15.
No NFL defender provided better coverage than Brandin Echols in Week 15, per @PFF.
— Jets X-Factor (@jetsxfactor) December 22, 2021
The Jets selected Echols with the 200th overall pick in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL draft. In training camp, he impressed the coaching staff enough to earn a starting cornerback job entering Week 1. This resulted in the release of presumed starter Bless Austin, who now resides with the Seawhks.
This past Tuesday, Austin had a game-changing pass interference call late in Seattle’s loss to the Rams, which effectively eliminated the Seahawks from playoffs.
On the year Echols has 49 tackles and seven passes defended while allowing a passer rating of 87.6 on throws into his coverage.
Even with his strong performance on Sunday, Echols still ranks 97th out of 128 cornerbacks in PFF’s coverage grade. He is also having trouble in the run game with a run defense grade of 28.9 that ranks 127th out of 128. This remains an issue as Echols missed an NFL-leading four tackles against the run in Week 15.
It was expected that Echols would need time to develop. He surpassed expectations by earning the starting cornerback role entering his first career game. What matters most is that he is showing progress since returning from injury. Echols has allowed only two catches across the two games following his return.
Echols needs to sustain his progress over the next three games if he wants to keep his starting role entering 2022. However, regardless of whether he starts next year, he has already proven to be a great value out of the sixth round and should be another useful piece from what is looking like a fantastic draft class by general manager Joe Douglas.